All Fall Down (Kate Maddox #2), by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards

Four and-a-half stars (of five)

Voss and Edwards return to provide another Kate Maddox medical thriller.  Two years after crossing paths with a crazed collection of virus-toting scientists, Maddox is back with her now-boyfriend Paul and son Jack. In this novel, a variation of the virus that killed Maddox’s parents is back, flaring up on the outskirts of Los Angeles. A bomb is also detonated at a conference of some of the world’s top virologists, leaving many to believe that someone wants this virus to spread without a cure. Maddox and Paul agree to head out to California to help, as long as Jack is able to stay in Texas with his father. They head out and begin looking into what has caused the rebirth of Watoto and who might be behind it. Maddox is sequestered at a secret lab, working with a small team to find a cure before it’s too late. Paul, finding himself with a great deal of free time and in the vicinity of the man who cause his twin brother’s death, begins an adventure of his own, equally as dangerous. Meanwhile, Jack embarks on an adventure of his own with a neighbour, bound to reunite with his mother and help out any way he can. At the heart of the virus’ spreading is a collection of young women, The Sisters, whose central beliefs are based on religious conviction. Can Maddox crack the code of this new strain of Watoto in time and will Paul get the answers he seeks before he is another virus casualty? And how will the trek from Dallas to Los Angeles bring Jack into the larger story? All this and more await the reader as Edwards and Voss present a page-turner if ever there were one.

I was highly impressed with this, the second in the Kate Maddox series. With more action, thrills, and even science than the first, this novel pulls the reader in and keeps them on the edge of their seat until the final page turn. Edwards and Voss utilise a plot line that failed miserably for Edwards alone, a cult experience, but do so in such a way that the reader cannot help but want to know more. Personalising the virus for Maddox also helps pull the reader into the mix, as it is a battle to save the infected as well as a second chance for Maddox to address the virus that killed her family. The action never stops and while the language is a lot more salty than in past novels, it sells the product: the American culture and linguistic free spiritedness, very effectively.

Kudos, Mr. Edwards and Madam Voss for this wonderful sequel. I have been hooked on your writing for a while and cannot get enough of it. Keep writing and causing these spine-tingling moments.